With the NBA lockout finally over, the first big basketball question on most fans' minds is how their team's roster will take shape.
Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area has already laid out an overview of the Golden State Warriors roster, Tom Ziller of SB Nation has laid out the NBA free agent list for the entire league, and David Fucillo of SBN Bay Area has posted the list of Warriors free agents. Of course, there's that whole amnesty clause thing too, but for now let's begin with free agency by taking a closer look at the Warriors' four free agents.
The Golden State Warriors have one restricted free agent and three unrestricted free agents:
Restricted: SF Reggie Williams
Unrestricted: PG Acie Law, SF Al Thornton, SF Vladimir Radmanovic
Without offending anyone or their families, we can probably say that these guys are not the most coveted group on the market. If this was a playoff team last season, that would be great but since it wasn't it sort reinforces the point that the team doesn't have a whole lot of wiggle room to work with in this shortened off-season.
Nevertheless, as we start to consider how we want this roster to take shape a brief look at what each of these guys offers the team if they decide to keep them around.
Reggie WIlliams, 6'6", Wing
Evanz already laid out the key question regarding whether the Warrior should keep Williams around in a post back in early-October: "...we just drafted Klay Thompson, who probably figures to get a lot of time backing up Monta over the next couple seasons. Does Lacob want to invest in a 3-yr deal for a guy like Williams or Young who might only see limited minutes once Klay establishes himself?"
While spending a lottery pick on Washington State guard Klay Thompson could certainly make Williams expendable, what Williams offers the Warriors is a scorer who is one of the NBA's most valuable three point shooters both off the bench and at the wing position.
But aside from Thompson, there are a few of other reasons the Warriors could conceivably let Williams go. Two of them are named Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright, who were among the top 25 most valuable three point shooters in the league last season - the Warriors aren't lacking for three point shooters by any means and have potentially already added another one in Thompson.
Another reason, as Evanz notes, is that Williams is replaceable - there are other guys out there who the team could add that would provide a similar impact (as examples, he listed Rodney Stuckey or Nick Young). Along those lines, Williams doesn't offer as much as some others - e.g. Stuckey - in the way of mid-range shooting or getting to the foul line, which could be valuable additions.
Yet the biggest reason might be defense and Williams is probably not going to show up at the top of many people's lists of top defenders in the league, especially if you consider RAPM. New coach Mark Jackson has made a big deal about bringing a defensive mentality to the team and that side of the ball has to be taken into consideration.
Ultimately, efficient shooters are valuable to any team and Williams is that. The question might be whether the Warriors can find more value in another player.
Acie Law, 6'3", Guard
Sadly, the first thing that springs to mind whenever I see Law's name is the missed breakaway layup in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. So it's sort of interesting that he led the Warriors in layup attempts per 100 possessions last season. Maybe.
Again, as an unrestricted free agent with other options in our backcourt, it would be surprising to see Law back on the roster.
Al Thornton, 6'8", Forward
Gary Dzen of the Boston Globe suggests Thornton as one of the Boston Celtics' top free agent targets. So maybe I should take back what I said about the rest of these guys other than Williams not being so coveted.
Then again, Adam Francis of SBN's Raptors HQ wondered if Thornton was an upgrade "over James Johnson or even a healthy Linas Kleiza". So, you can make your own assessment of where he stands.
Vladimir Radmanovic, 6'10", Forward
The one place Radmanovic shines is in Evanz's most valuable three point shooters metric where he stood as the 8th best non-starter last season. But he was rated 100th in scoring among free agents and it's difficult to imagine him being rated much higher defensively.